One Hour

December 4, 2015 — 92 Comments

how-to-write-an-article-in-less-than-one-hour

 

 

This is an experiment to see what I can write in one hour. I’ve just set the timer on my phone.

Tick, Tock.

One of my writing idols and Sisterwife Michelle says she writes blog posts in an hour. And her writing is fantastic. I, on the other hand, take days, sometimes weeks, to write a post.

My process is excruciating. I have to learn how to write in a less labor-intensive way. So this is an experiment to see what I can write in an hour.

 

Granted, I sometimes research for hours. My last post, I surfed the net (do people still use that expression?) for hours, looking at videos and reading stories about ridiculously lavish parties.

This post will be a no-research post.

For me, writing is rewriting. I spend countless hours looking for better, more evocative ways to say things. Which phrase has more impact? Is funnier? I also love to invent words, and that in itself is a process. It takes a lot of time to come up with yet another euphemism for “vagina.”

Quamph pocket. There.

Meh. It’s not as good as “smush mitten.”

 

Tick, Tock.

 

I just realized – I’m rambling on and on because I DON’T HAVE A TOPIC! The integrity of this experiment has been compromised! I need to start over. I’ll think of a topic, THEN try to write on it for an hour.

 

 

 

TOO MUCH PRESSURE.
I couldn’t come up with a topic. I was all errgghhh arrrghhhh ohhhhh fuck!

I have forty-eleven partially-written posts in my drafts, but I can’t just crash in on something I’ve already started and try to finish it in one hour.

How can I explain about my obsession with Patty Hearst in one hour? I don’t think I can do justice to “Kim Kardashian for President” in an hour. And it will take me much longer than an hour, possibly days, to remember “That Time I Got Lost In Madison Square Garden.” If I can remember the details at all, because – well. I DID get lost in a concert arena during a Pink Floyd show.

 

So, am I just to ramble on, in the hopes that you guys will read my word vomit? My mind is an endless loop of thoughts. It’s extremely hard for me to stay focused. As a matter of fact, while trying to write this, my mind has wandered on in about 20 different directions.

I’ve thought about what rock tee I want to put on Instagram today (Eminem, because shit is getting real these days). I’ve thought about the fact that I offered to drive one of my students somewhere at 7 am tomorrow, and WHAT THE FUCK WAS I THINKING? Aarrrgh. Normally I get to sleep in a little on Saturdays.

I’ve obsessed over the fact that Hanukkah begins this weekend. which means I’ll be making potato pancakes. They’re a lot of work, but my kid really loves them. But after you fry potato pancakes, your house smells like oil FOR DAYS. Like, headache-inducing oil. No matter how many windows you leave open.

I’m 22 minutes and 664 words in, and I’ve written nothing of substance. Wait, does the hour include editing? Shite. What about searching for an image? Crap.

I don’t think I can write a post in one hour.

 

There are other things I CAN do in an hour. Writing is not one of them.

In one hour, I can make something out of origami. I love those colorful squares of paper. I could really get into a little origami.  I’m not talking about a flower or some shit. I’m talking about something a little COMPLICATED.

Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!

Now THAT’S what I’m talking about!

 

 

In an hour I can bake some fierce cookies.

Can cookies be fierce? If I wasn’t on a freaking deadline, I’d look for a better word. What on earth would a “fierce” cookie look like? I would google it, but I’m afraid. Lady Google is an unpredictable bitch.

 

In an hour I can look up some bizarre expressions in French. I love the way the French say things. For example, the French are not “arrogant.” They “fart higher than their ass is located.” (Péter plus haut que son cul). That’s FANTASTIC.

 

In an hour I could practice guitar, something I don’t do often enough. I recently joined a band with some teenagers, and I suck compared to them. I suppose it doesn’t matter. None of the Ramones could play their instruments when they first started.

In an hour I could buy something at Walmart. Just one thing, though, because you can drop dead in the aisle at Walmart and still not get noticed by a salesperson. I liken shopping at Walmart to the punishment inflicted on mythological king Sisyphus. He was condemned to roll a boulder up to the top of a mountain, only to have it roll back down to the bottom every time he reaches the top. For all eternity.

 

Tick, Tock.

 

In an hour I could go for a run (okay, a walk).
I could get veeery drunk (it doesn’t take much).
I could put makeup on your cat or dog (if you wanted me to.)
I could do “8 Minute Abs,” 7 and a half times (Maths, people). Instead of a 6 pack, would I get a 45-pack?

 

Speaking of 8 minutes, I have 8 minutes left. I’m going to use them to edit this post, and maybe look for a picture or two. And then, hit “Publish.” If there are typos, cut me some slack! I’ll get better at this…

 

How long does it take you to write a blog post? What interesting things can you do in an hour?
Talk to me. I’m listening.

 

 

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92 responses to One Hour

  1. 

    Okay, I think you did a FINE job of writing a post in an hour. I adore you. And I don’t research ANYTHING (nearly true) when I write a post because that just takes too much effort. Haha.

  2. 

    Oh..and thank you for the shout out, sister. xo

  3. 

    Those of us who babble from the mouth (as if there were some other places to babble from), call your hour a “stream of consciousness”. What fun it was with you jumping from one topic to another. As for your potato pancakes, they do come prepared in a box. Of course they taste like shit, but at least you made the effort – of course the oil smell remains no matter what. Oh! Buy a candle that smells like apple pie and everyone will think you baked something spectacular! Loved the post!

    • 

      I make the potato pancakes in a food processor instead of grating by hand, so it’s not as much work. And there’s less knuckle skin in the mix!

      Thanks so much for reading my stream of consciousness. xoxoxo

  4. 

    I like these random thought types of posts- so job well done. I’m the sort to write and then let it marinate, go back, tweak wording, sit some more if necessary, and then publish. My most recent post I didn’t tweak enough, but I’ve published so little the past few months, I figured, better to get out something a little crappy this time than nothing at all. After all, I’m not looking to become such a writer as to write for other people for money. It’s pretty much just for me (and a few others that care to follow my journey along). There have been the few post that busted out of me, full force. Dam burst and out they flew. After a quick edit, they were sent out into the world. Love the origami photo, by the way.

    • 

      I read somewhere it’s best to write one day, and edit the next. I might try that next.

      Yes, some of my posts, though not many, have burst right out of me. Those are my favorites.

  5. 

    Hysterical, forty eleven blog posts? hahahaha Dies

  6. 

    Not bad, not bad at all! I take forever to write posts too. Hell, it consumes a minimum of 3 hours of my day. THIS is hilarious: Péter plus haut que son cul

    • 

      Three hours is still pretty good. It’s better than 3 days!
      I’m going to try and limit my writing to a few hours for each post.
      Wait – how long did it take you to write your book? I’m skeert now.

  7. 

    Ok, I googled “fierce cookie” and got some miserable looking black woman, i’m assuming her name is Cookie.

  8. 

    It takes me about a half an hour to write most posts. Wednesday’s One-Liners and Thursday’s doors take less than ten minutes. If I have to add links or photos I don’t have, then it can take an hour, absolutely.
    The French do say arrogant, and we say “Peter thinks his shit don’t stink.”
    I cannot origami. I tried origami with my son when he was 8 or 9 and he made 6 or 7 things whereas I made two. In the same amount of time, okay?
    I could go for some latkes and fierce cookies right about now!

  9. 

    I’ve written flash fiction in 10 minutes before. Talk about pressure. As to regular blog posts, if I have a topic that doesn’t need research, I often write blog posts in an hour–my lunch hour to be precise. Still, I have some posts that have taken days, weeks, hell, I even have one that I’ve been ruminating on for a year or more.

    • 

      My writing time varies as well, with the exception of writing something in an hour.

      That post you’ve been ruminating on for a year? That’s going to be a motherfucker of a story.

  10. 

    Origami bugs me like jigsaws do – they itch my brain and I can’t do the folds, so I get upset and throw things.

    Writing can take me anywhere between an hour and three – depends how many naps I take in between sentences (accidental or otherwise), and whether or not I plan to edit it better (usually not, which I suspect is the reason you’ve been FP forty-eleven times and I haven’t).

    In an hour I could cook something amazing, sleep for all of it, do precisely nothing productive on Facebook, or accomplish far more housework than I thought possible, because for damn well ONCE, I applied myself to something.

    The last one is probably the most responsible, so naturally it’s the least likely to happen.

    I like your ramble though, and good for you for making potato pancakes for LD 🙂

  11. 

    If I have the idea all set in my head, I could write it in an hour, but editing, that’s another story. Editing is the fun part – finding better ways to say it – not looking for typos – and for me the more I come back to it the better it’s gonna be so usually I’m begging myself not to push publish cause part of me just wants to be done with it and the other part knows that there’s some awesomeness waiting around the corner if I’d only just give it a chance to show up…

    • 

      I agree with this. Wanting to make it better.
      I think I’d like to try writing the post one day, and editing the next.

      But the issue is, I don’t write frequently enough and I end up only posting once a week. At BEST. Sometimes, I wait weeks between posts.
      So, if I can just find time, and commit to, writing several times a week, I can have my editing process and still publish regularly.

      How often do you publish?

      • 

        I’m on the whenever-I-feel-like-it posting plan. Sometimes it’s everyday, and then I go for months without having anything to say. Usually if someone really gets on my nerves bad enough I’ll write something… somehow anger tends to get my creative juices flowing – though I can usually convert it into something positive before I press publish.

  12. 

    “Fart higher than their ass is located”. Does that mean it creeps up their butt cracks and out the waistband of their trousers?? lol

  13. 

    Shorts blog posts are also possible and oft not that bad!

  14. 

    My posts are variable depending on the level of seriousness. Talking about religion, I’ll spend a few days. Writing about cookies, that only takes like an hour

  15. 

    Bravo! Job well done! The origami Yoda is brilliant! I often write posts in one hour, my current one about LBGT, etc took a little less. It depends on whether it’s a stream of consciousness, spontaneous piece, like the current post, or something that I really work on. It depends from post to post and inspiration to inspiration. The weekly Friday Fictioneer posts sometimes take me as little as a half hour, but it’s flash fiction. I’m also prone to going back and editing after I publish, when I realize I didn’t include something I should have, or should expand or delete something. I’m lame that way! Fun post, Samara!

    • 

      I also edit after I publish, but usually typos and stuff. The other kind of editing, where I look for better ways to express myself – I try to do all that before I publish. I didn’t get to this time.

      I envy people like you who can push out posts in an hour, on a regular basis. Maybe I’ll get better if I just practice?

      • 

        I misspoke, friend! I don’t “push them out in an hour”regularly! Those are the lucky/easy ones. Often they take a lot longer! And, I tend to be impulsive; so, I hit publish and then think of things I should have said, or find problems I missed, rushing through edits… Get better? I think you already rock. I wouldn’t mess with the magic! 😉 xox

  16. 

    I’m trying to write faster. I’m learning that sometimes the pieces that come out quickest are some of my most popular posts. Go figure. Anyway, this was fun! Great idea!

    • 

      I actually found it to be a really fun experiment as well! I stuck to the one hour limit as best as I could, but I did need a little extra time to find a post image and add the tags and stuff. So maybe it was 65 minutes, in all. The writing was one hour.

  17. 

    Yeah, Nutty don’t do writing in an hour. If I can’t allot myself at least the length of a Lord of the Rings film to obsess over what I’ve written and change all the things that bother me and then find new things to bother me and change those, then I don’t hit Publish.

    I also have to agree with you on the French. I took a conversational French class in university where we were required to swear at our examiner during the oral portion of our finals, and I can state with confidence that you haven’t really lived until you’ve received course credit for telling a tenured professor to go fuck themselves en français.

    • 

      So, how long does Nutty take to ultimately write and publish a post?

      The French! Va te faire foutre? There seem to be many ways to tell someone to go fuck themselves.

      So glad you visited! xoxoxoxo

      • 

        Probably 4-6 hours if I’m just writing about something silly I thought of on the fly, but if I’m writing on a topic that’s more meaningful to me I’ll usually allot myself several days so I can reread it in every kind of mood and make sure it’s not something I’ll look back and cringe over.

        And then, of course, there are the eternal drafts that I can just never seem to get right and will probably never see the light of day…

      • 

        I have so many of those eternal drafts. I feel you.

  18. 

    This is awesome. That’s kinda how my brain operates too. Just call me Distracto Girl.
    You can bake latkes. Granted the oil fried are much more delicious but the smell is far less.
    How long it takes me to write a post depends on the day, my mood, the tides, whether I am tempted by an SVU block on TV…. Last night I did a six sentence in about 1.5 hours. I think.

    • 

      Baked latkes? No way! The whole premise behind them is the use of oil!

      Six sentences in 1.5 hours. That’s about my usual speed.
      Thanks for reading! xoxox

  19. 

    If you want to eliminate the smell of oil, put a bowl of white vinegar in a corner on your kitchen counter right after frying. Leave it there until the next day. You will be amazed. And if you eat a cookie when you are sad, and it totally makes you feel better, that is a fierce cookie. 😘

    • 

      I must try the white vinegar thing! Wow!

      When I am sad, I totally eat cookies. Not “a” cookie, All The Cookies.

      Thanks for being here. xoxoxoxoxo

  20. 

    Good writing isn’t always about substance as much as character. You’ve got lots of that and it comes out on the page no matter how long you have. By the way, I spent an hour on this comment…

  21. 

    How can you get away with “looking up better ways” to say things yet I get blasted for using ostentatious and blasphemous, because it’s “unnatural” something or another speech? This is why you are my muse and I worship thee in both a professional….blogging is technically a profession, isn’t it?…and WCW kinda way. Seriously. Muah!

    • 

      Who blasts you for using those words? For real?
      I LOVE gorgeous evocative vocabulary!

      WCW right back at ya! xoxoxoxoxo

      • 

        I can’t name names because it’s a big editor probably in your friend circle somewhere. I get that my grammar isn’t spot on, since I’m not coming from a journalism background and just started writing after a seven year hiatus…But don’t knock a walking thesaurus because it’s not assuage reading for simpletons!

      • 

        message me on FB. I have to make sure I don’t ever submit anything to that editor!!!

  22. 

    HAaaa.
    I dig your randomness.
    I never write in an hour. When the muse comes, first I think about it, then I write bit by bit
    at work, on napkins, during dinner, whatev…
    Then it all flows out after about a week!

    xxx

    • 

      I love your process! It sounds just as writing should be. I tend to agonize, and it becomes very not fun.
      I want to enjoy it during, not just after. Is that possible?

  23. 

    Finally, naptime came around! I see why Ned talks about you highly now! 🙂

  24. 

    Love the Yoda! I am not into origami, but love paper crafting. I write for a Bi-weekly publication, (in another language) and when I am very upset or worked up, then the words just flow out of me. That’s my best work, but when I must force it, the readers sense it a mile away. My editor often sends things back to be re-written or toned ‘down’ to his liking. I hate re-writing and reworking lines to fit into 680 words. As for ideas, I always have a notebook at hand, and often jot down something quirky that someone said, asking if I can use it later. Often I start just forming ideas like cartoon speech bubbles, then link the ideas together with randomness. I ook for patterns and study people interacting to each other. I love people watching and their differences and weirdness is often a good starting point.

    • 

      680 words? I doubt I could do that!

      People watching is the best. I need to write more about what I see. I could fill a book.
      Thanks for reading, and for commenting. xoxox

  25. 

    I love a good stream of consciousness.

  26. 

    You wrote so much in an hour. I’m amazed. I take weeks and then don’t even publish. Then I take 3 minutes and post. Tevs. Surfing the net is still a term. This is hilarious.

  27. 

    Kim Kardashian for President. I can’t wait to read it. If I spend too long on a piece, I have too many ADD and child related distractions it ends up being a hot mess… like that time I thought I could give my brother a haircut without any training when I was 14 and he was 12. We both wanted to hide the result.

  28. 

    Would like to try this experiment too. 🙂 I write content in bulk, but I take my own sweet time writing my blog posts.

  29. 

    Hello sunshine! It really depends for me. If I’m researching things, it can take a couple of days to write a post, but if there’s no research involved, it tends to all pour out, and generally takes anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. It all depends on the content and the inspiration. I wouldn’t worry too horribly much about how long it takes you. It’s the content. If you like what you write, and people enjoy it, then you’ve done good. It doesn’t matter if you laid the whole thing out in 5 minutes or 5 weeks. Good job on you for just going with it and trying anyway!
    Have a beautiful day Samara.

  30. 

    Oh dear, just reading that was painful. STOP!!!! No-one writes the same way. I can see that it was a great exercise to see where you can refine your writing process, but write to your strength and forget about, ‘She can so I must be able too’.
    Enjoy Hanukkah, enjoy your research, enjoy crafting the right phrase. Enjoy your writing. 🙂

    • 

      Painful in a “tooth extraction” way? Or a “menstrual cramp” way?
      On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being no pain, and 10 being the worst possible pain, how painful was it?
      I may try this again, and I don’t want to cause anyone any undue pain. 🙂
      Thanks for reading!

  31. 

    Great post for one hour! I generally only take an hour to write a post as well. When I started, I would just open a new post page and just go – now I find that I will write it in word and then post the next day….I just try to ignore all the spelling and grammar mistakes though hehe

  32. 

    When I sit down to write a post, it usually goes pretty quickly-as long as I have an idea of what I am going to say. Sometimes though, it will take a few hours, or even days to form an idea enough to start getting out on paper.

  33. 

    It takes me a few hours…and I’m continuously editing while I’m writing. Good experiment! I’m now inspired more to pick up the guitar (I was just thinking last weekend that i wanted to learn) and learn how to say really offensive things in French.

    • 

      French is a fabulous language to be offensive in!

      A few hours is just the right amount of time, I think. Better than taking days or weeks, like I sometimes do!
      I wish I was really, really good at guitar. I’m pretty awful.

  34. 
    Gretchen Kellaway December 8, 2015 at 10:15 am

    I sometimes publish what has only taken me an hour to write. I never edit so what you see is what you get most of the time. I have never timed myself. I don’t research posts and only one time in the history of my blogging career, did I ever send a post to someone else to clear up. The Dance took me an hour to write. I was in the moment. Sometimes those are the pieces that stand out the most to me. The ones that just happen. No prompt, no reason. Yet if I had to time myself, really think about the fact that I was in fact timing myself. I would ramble. That’s the thing about prompts and deadlines, they box you in. Just sit down to write. I bet with your magic in words you could write something amazing and surprise yourself that research wasn’t needed and only an hour did in fact go by.

    • 

      Well, this one was written without any research or prompt of any kind. But I felt it lacked direction.

      I at least need a topic to ramble on!

      Thanks for reading, and commenting Gretchen. MUAH!! You’re always so supportive. xoxoxo

  35. 

    Wow, days? anythings longer then half an hour and I just want post it.
    What do you teach? Because – students.

  36. 

    What do “quamph” and “smush” mean? My dictionnary (surprisingly) doesn´t have it 😉

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  1. 50 Happy Things: Bloggers Unite in Flood of Gratitude « A Buick in the Land of Lexus - December 21, 2015

    […] who read my blog know that even writing a post in one hour was hugely challenging. But I got amped up on caffeine and decided to Just Do […]

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